LAHORE, PAKISTAN - The father of an 8-year-old Pakistani girl whose rape and killing shocked the nation accused the police Thursday of being slow to respond when his daughter went missing in eastern Punjab province.
The father, Anees Ansari, who was on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia with his wife at the time of his daughter’s disappearance, spoke after meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Sharif traveled to the city of Kasur to visit the family hours after Ansari returned home from Saudi Arabia to attend his daughter’s funeral Wednesday.
The girl, Zainab Ansari, disappeared last week while going to a nearby home for Quranic studies, and her body was found in a Kasur waste-yard Tuesday.
Her killing sparked clashes Wednesday between angry Kasur residents and police after protesters enraged over her death attacked a police station in the city. Two people were killed and three others were wounded in the clashes.
Sharif, who had assured Zainab’s father that justice would be done, also fired Kasur’s police chief over negligence in the case, according to a Punjab government statement Thursday. Three police officers were arrested for opening fire at the mob instead of into the air during Wednesday’s clashes.
Zainab’s killing, which has drawn wide public outcry, prompted dozens of civil society activists to rally Thursday in the city of Lahore. A similar rally took place Wednesday in the port city of Karachi.
Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and champion for female education, tweeted Wednesday she was “heartbroken” about Zainab’s tragic fate and demanded action against the killer.